16/05/2018 06:11 SAST | Updated 16/05/2018 11:38 SAST

Analysts: De Lille's Victory Could Mean A Bleak Future For The DA

Ralph Mathekga: DA's loss in court is "embarrassing".

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Patricia de Lille and her legal team outside the Western Cape High Court on February 13, 2018 in Cape Town.

Patricia de Lille has won a legal battle with the DA, a party that she has served for years.

On Tuesday morning, the Western Cape High Court ruled that the DA's cessation of De Lille's membership was suspended, effectively allowing her to return to mayoral office in the interim.

However, political analyst Ralph Mathekga says De Lille's return to the party only deals with the "legality and the procedure", and does not mean she will be welcomed back with open arms.

"She cannot continue to be a mayor in a situation where a party is rejecting her," Mathekga said.

Read: DA Wants Explanation From De Lille Over Shoddy SMS

He says her relationship with the party will remain turbulent.

"The judgment does not change anything regarding the relationship between De Lille and the DA."

He explained: "The issue is that De Lille no longer carries a mandate of the DA — they have lost faith in her, and there is no way she can be an effective mayor under these circumstances; there is just no way."

According to Mathekga, the DA's loss in court is "embarrassing", and the party should find a way to solve the infighting amicably and not appeal the judgment.

"Appealing is just going to further embarrass [the DA]."

The party axed De Lille last week, saying its decision was influenced by extracts from a radio interview in April, in which she indicated her intention to resign from the party as soon as she had "cleared her name".

Announcing her axing, DA MP James Selfe made reference to the party's constitution, which states that "a member ceases to be a member when he or she publicly declares his or her intention to resign".

This led to De Lille taking the matter to the courts.

"This is a predominantly political party with a predominantly white Federal Executive taking on a public fight with a black woman and I think that is why it looks bad."

Political analyst Oliver Dickson says the party should use this opportunity to acknowledge that they have made an error in their judgment of De Lille.

"The DA has a chance to stop, reflect, and admit to the public that it has made a mistake and become reconciliatory. If they do not take that opportunity, they will have lost the war," he said.

Dickson says the official opposition stands to lose a chunk of its electorate, because the matter seems to be a racial issue.

"This is a predominantly political party with a predominantly white federal executive taking on a public fight with a black woman, and I think that is why it looks bad. Elections come down in most parts to cosmetics — the DA will be losing that part of the electorate," he said.

Dickson says this row has only led to De Lille garnering even more support as a political figure, and "wherever she goes, she will be able to take that support with her".